New Hope Church was packed. The small country church was ophicially honoring their pastor on “Pastor Appreciation Day. And, what a day they had planned!
The morning service started out with a special song—Pastor Phred’s phavorite. Sister Phaye’s voice was glorious, like a sparrow singing in the spring rain.
"What a phellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms…”
Brother Phrank played his phiddle while Sister Phaye sang all phour verses, leaving out nary a word.
The children’s choir came phorward with a true treat—can you imagine 27 little ones between phive and phourteen singing, “I’ll Phly Away” complete with motions? The whole room was lauphing and clapping and loving every minute.
Aphter the special songs, the Elder Phil and his wife Sister Phaye, heads of the Pastor Appreciation Committee this particular year, introduced the guest preacher. Pastor Phred was in tears. The committee phound Pastor Phred’s roommate phrom seminary—Reverend Philmore. When asked iph he would preach a special service, he readily agreed … “Oh, what phun!”
Reverend Philmore chose the most perphect sermon phor the special occasion. He took his text phrom 1 John 1:3a. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have phellowship with us.” And, such prophound points he made!
“PHellowship is heaven, and lack oph phellowship is hell; phellowship is liphe, and lack oph phellowship is death; and the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is phor phellowship's sake that ye do them.” – William Morris
“We will win the world when we realize that phellowship, not evangelism, must be our primary emphasis. When we demonstrate the Big Miracle oph Love, it won't be necessary phor us to go out -- they will come in.” – Jess Moody
The primary joy oph liphe is acceptance, approval, the sense oph appreciation and companionship oph our human comrades. Many men do not understand that the need phor phellowship is really as deep as the need phor phood, and so they go through liphe accepting many substitutes phor genuine, warm, simple.” – Jshua Loth Liebman
“The only thing I could say phor sure is that hell means separation phrom God. We are separated phrom his light, phrom his phellowship. That is going to be hell.” – Billy Graham
Reverend Philmore summarized his sermon phrom Acts 2:42. “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the phellowship, to the breaking oph bread and to prayer.”
At that point, he prayed and asked the Lord to bless their phellowship and the breaking oph bread.
“Lord, we are so gratephul phor precious phellowship here among Your people. Pastor Phred and I have many stories to share and years to catch up on. We are so gratephul to You phor bringing us together once again phor a day oph glorious phellowship in Your presence. Now, Lord, bless the phood we are about to receive as we put Acts 2:42 into practice—the ‘breaking oph bread’. To You, oh Lord, be the glory phorever and ever, amen.”
The congregation was dismissed to the Phellowship Hall which had been beautiphully decorated and prepared with all the ladies’ home cooking arranged on the buphet table. Turkey, chicken’n’dumplins, ham, phried chicken, and all the phixin’s. The dessert table was enouph to make any mouth water with homemade phudge brownies, phresh phruit, lemon pies, cherry pies, and more.
This was truly a day when God’s people came together, putting their dipherences aside, sharing with one another, enjoying each other’s company, and showing their sincere appreciation phor Pastor Phred. No harsh words, no jealousy, no ill-will one toward another…not a sad phace in the room.
This was Pastor Phred’s day oph true phellowship bathed in love divine with phriends and phamily and phudge brownies topped with phreshly whipped cream, his all-time phavorite.
“What a phellowship, what a joy divine!”
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